Miami secure in its Super Bowl preparations - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Miami secure in its Super Bowl preparations

MIAMI -- Just so you know, if Fidel Castro dies at halftime of the Super Bowl, everything should still be cool in Miami.

And no, you still can't tailgate outside Dolphin Stadium on Sunday.

The Super Bowl security press conference headed by NFL vice president of security Milt Ahelrich, director Robert Parker of the Miami-Dade police department and special agent Julie Torres of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms dealt with the touchy topic of protecting both the fans and the country's most-watched event as a whole.

"We expect a first-class event in all respects with attention focused on the teams on the field," said Ahelrich.

The NFL budgeted more than $6 million for security for Super Bowl XLI and hired more than 3,000 civilians to serve as security personnel in addition to the presence allocated by the Miami-Dade police force and the federal manpower allocated.

Most of the main pregame talking points were directed at fans attending the game. The list of prohibited items, guarding against purchasing counterfeit tickets and making sure they don't get their tickets swiped.

"We do not like to see our fans victimized," said Ahelrich. "Buyer beware. We use scanning devices when you get to the stadium. A scanner will pick up (counterfeits) and you will not be allowed in. We've seen some heart-wrenching cases but it's buyer beware and buying tickers from a third-party is very risky business."

As far as getting your tickets stolen, Ahelrich said, "We urge our patrons to hold onto their tickets."

Sage advice.

Since the first Super Bowl following 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security has been involved in protecting the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl in February 2002 was the first to be designated a "National Special Security Event" -- a designation that makes the Secret Service the coordinating agency.

This year's event is a Level 1 security event.

With the Cuban leader Castro in failing health, Cuban Americans in South Florida are mobilizing forces to "celebrate" the passing of the dictator.

Tomas Regalado, a City Commissioner in Miami, said in Monday's Miami Herald that, "There is something to celebrate, regardless of what happens next ...We get rid of the guy."

A committee met last week to discuss "an event at the Orange Bowl in case expected events occur in Cuba" according to the newspaper.

"As recently as (Monday) we, spoke about that eventuality," said Parker, the police director. "Certainly all the potential events have been considered and discussed and that has been talked about. All parties and agencies are aware of it and we are not worried about not having enough people."

One security aspect that attracted attention last week was the news that there will be no tailgating within a mile of Dolphin Stadium.

"Let's be sure we're clear," said Ahelrich. "No tents. No lawn chairs. No open fires. If someone wants to have a cold beverage or a sandwich in the parking lot that's their business. We have an entirely different construction out there to secure (in the parking lots). It will be very tight, traffic is tight and parking is tight. It's for the fans and for the safety of fans that we are restricting that."

Most fans are accustomed to some tight squeezes, but Ahelrich said this is: "Altogether different. The production of this game is that we take much of the existing parking that is out there. There's a much smaller amount of parking and ways of negotiating around the stadium. It will be very different than a regular game."

According to Parker: "There has not been a single threat nor has there been an indicator that we will encounter (a terrorist threat) but we must be prepared for any eventuality. We have considered a terrorist threat or a major mass-casualty situation. We're very prepared to deal with that."


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